LONDON — Britain’s medicines agency has authorized the use of the experimental drug remdesivir for COVID-19 patients, in a move that may shorten the time some patients spend in the hospital.
Clinical trials testing the antiviral to determine whether or not it is effective are still under way globally, but initial results have suggested it can speed up the recovery time for people infected with the new coronavirus.
In a statement on Tuesday, the U.K.’s Medicines and Health Regulatory Agency said it would support the use of remdesivir, made by Gilead, to treat adults and teenagers hospitalized with severe COVID-19.
“We are committed to ensuring that patients can have fast access to promising treatments for COVID-19,” said Dr. June Raine, the agency’s chief executive.
Remdesivir will be provided to patients free of charge by Gilead and will be for patients with “high, unmet medical need” under a doctor’s supervision.
A study last month of more than 1,000 people severely sickened by the coronavirus found those who got the drug were discharged from the hospital several days earlier than those who got a placebo.